A Coventry engineering firm has been fined after an employee was injured on an unguarded machine. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered it to pay full costs of £3,356.
The employee was making a cut in a component on a horizontal borer at MNB Precision Ltd; as he reached over to check the cut, his sleeve came into contact with the rotating part. He was thrown over the top and suspended upside down when his belt caught on the component. The man suffered minor lacerations, cuts and bruising to his right arm, side and leg and lower back. He returned to work for the company after about a month.
An investigation by the HSE found the borer had never been fitted with a guard, despite having been in the factory for more than 15 years. MNB Precision Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The fact that the machine has not had a guard fitted for many years and that no incidents have occurred in that time is not a viable defence for any business. PUWER requires that an assessment is undertaken and that all dangerous parts are suitably controlled (usually this requires guarding by some means).
After the hearing, the HSE inspector commented that “Workers should not be able to access dangerous moving parts of machinery. To have not installed a guard on this machine was a serious failing and one which resulted in a man suffering a painful injury in what must have been a frightening incident. It’s not unusual for an incident like this to result in a fatality so the employee was very lucky. ”
The company has since fitted guarding but the HSE statement said it was disappointing they did not do so before this event happened. We would ask you to consider could this happen in your business?